For the last few days, you’ve lived on the pages of Indeed, scrolling through the many job postings and clicking on promising leads. You’ve recrafted your cover letter more times than you can remember and sent your resume to an abundance of companies (fingers crossed that this is finally the one). Feeling accomplished—and hopeful that your credentials will land you that job interview soon—you finally close your laptop and hop into bed. It’s time to rest…but wait I should just check my email one more time. And then suddenly your sleepy eyes are jolted awake and a sense of pride radiates from your being as you read the magic words that are dancing on the screen: “We’d like to invite you in for an interview.” Victory! Your dedication didn’t let you down; you’re one step closer to securing a job. But seconds into celebration you realize you’ve only conquered the easy part—now you must endure the dreaded job interview.
Job interviews are awfully despised and greatly feared—but they don’t have to be. Sure, it’s nerve-wracking trying to sell yourself to a company and confronting the very person in charge of your fate. But believe it or not, there are ways to ensure you aren’t a ball of anxiety walking into that interview and to guarantee your best shot at snagging the job. The first step to doing so? Checking out the following pointers given by the experts, from career coaches to the hiring managers themselves:
1) Skip out on the caffeine and the sugar.
“We typically encourage our candidates to abstain from unnecessary caffeine or excess sugar before heading into a job interview.”
Put down the coffee! That’s right, controlling the fate of your interview starts with choosing the right food and the right drink pre-interview. “Being under the influence of caffeine or sugar can exacerbate any additional jitters a job candidate may be experiencing,” says Ken Lane, marketing director of OakTree Staffing & Training. So, it might be smart to swap out your morning coffee for a cup of tea instead. You’re guaranteed to feel more relaxed meeting your potential future employer.
2) Prepare, prepare, prepare.
“[I recommend interviewees] prepare three main points that they want to be remembered for post interview.”
How confident can you be or feel if you’re not prepared for the interview? You should review your resume, ready yourself for general interview questions, and do your research on the company. Tammy Perkins, chief people officer at marketing consultancy Fjuri and long-time career coach, recommends you do one further and think up “three main points that you want to be remembered for post-interview.” Doing so will provide you with some talking points during the interview and ensure greater confidence following the interview as well.
3) Dress comfortably and appropriately.
“[Interviewees should] be aware of the climate and dress appropriately in layers so that they may adjust to their own comfort level.”
The last thing you need is to be self-conscious about the length of your skirt or the flip flops you shouldn’t have worn. Dress according to instructions and if you weren’t given instructions, business casual is always a safe bet. Furthermore, consider the weather outside as well as unpredictable office temperatures. To ensure your comfort, Lane (who suggested you nix the coffee before an interview) recommends you dress in layers so that you can, say, take a sweater off if you’re hot or put it on if you’re cold. “One of the essential aspects of making a great first impression is being comfortable,” he says.
4) Remove negative feelings from the equation.
“My job interview tip is to lock your self-doubting ‘gremlin’ in the car. The less power you give the gremlin, the less impact it has on you.”
Nerves are normal…but it is so incredibly helpful if you can manage to leave them outside of the interview room. I know—easier said than done. But executive career coach and owner of Mann Consulting, LLC Christine Mann found a trick that works for a lot of her clients: she talks to them about the little voice in their head that tells them they can’t and gives it an alias—a gremlin. She then talks them through metaphorically locking that gremlin in the car upon arriving at their interview. “The idea is the less power you give the gremlin, the less impact it has on you, and what the interviewer gets is the person free of the albatross around their neck,” she says. So strap that gremlin in and leave all of your worries behind!
5) Be professional, but also be yourself.
“Other than the usual ‘take a deep breath’ advice before a job interview, we encourage our applicants to be themselves.”
Ah, perhaps the most important pointer of all. “Other than the usual ‘take a deep breath’ advice before a job interview, we encourage our applicants to be themselves,” says Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.com. “We want them to feel comfortable while still maintaining a professional demeanor.” So yes, make eye contact, watch your posture, and communicate open body language. But more importantly, be true to yourself. The interviewer will appreciate your authenticity and you’ll both better understand whether you’re the right fit for the job and if the job is the right fit for you.